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AusIMM to host second social responsibility forum to gather views from all members

ยท 900 words, 4 min read

Environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues have been top of the agenda for the resources and processing industries in recent years.

Recognising the importance of improving the understanding across the industry on ESG, and in particular the social aspects within resource developments, is critical to the industry’s reputation.

The AusIMM Consulting (ConSoc) and the Social and Environment (S&E) Societies have been collaborating over the past few years to engage with the broader AusIMM membership on the issue of social responsibility in the resource industry and ESG more broadly. The initial program included a forum prior to Congress in May 2019.

The forum attracted over 80 individuals from across the AusIMM membership, Societies and Committees to explore the need for an Environment, Social and Governance/Social Responsibility (ESG-SR) Framework and to understand the drivers behind why such a framework is important now through understanding the magnitude, materiality of issues and risk that this presents to the resources industry.

This successful 2019 forum (a summary is available here) provided information from AusIMM members, which was distilled from breakout sessions, and culminated in the ESG-SR Committee presenting a number of recommendations to the AusIMM Board. This included, drawing on the collective knowledge of the AusIMM members who participated, a social responsibility policy for the AusIMM Board to consider. This ultimately became the basis for AusIMM’s Social Responsibility Statement and Framework, which articulates the expectation that AusIMM has of all its members to consciously regard the wellbeing of communities and societies affected by their activities.

Not resting here, the ESG-SR Committee has continued in its activities at the direction of the AusIMM Board to explore opportunities to engage the membership in the three levels of social responsibility knowledge:

  • Level 1 – Awareness of ESG
  • Level 2 – Understanding of ESG
  • Level 3 – Competence in the delivery of ESG areas of practice.

The ESG-SR Committee maintains its focus on ensuring the involvement of the broader AusIMM membership through the development of collaborative forums, drawing knowledge and views from the diverse members. A second forum has been in the planning since the release of the Social Responsibility Framework to engage with professionals around the Level 2 – Understanding of ESG.

Forum 2 – Social Responsibility: ESG Understanding

Forum 2 will utilise the same successful format as the original forum, aligning the timing of the event with Congress to ensure a broad spectrum of industry professionals participate. The importance of aligning with Congress in the development of the Social Responsibility Framework ensured the development of a policy that incorporated the diverse views of the AusIMM membership. Once again, this diverse view will be critical to a forum exploring the application of social responsibility for professionals who need to understand what it means without being the Practice Lead in this area.

In the COVID-19 affected environment, the forum will be set up to operate in a digital format, split over two half-days. The forum will benefit from AusIMM’s experience in running digital conferences during 2020. The successful format of panel discussions and breakout sessions will remain to allow participants to properly explore their understanding of ESG and social responsibility, and to engage with other professionals.

The ESG-SR Committee is expecting this forum to be of interest to the broad range of professionals who need to better understand ESG and social responsibility to be able to integrate it more fully into business activities and decisions. It is envisaged that the forum will be of interest to the full professional spectrum of the resources industry, from exploration through to closure and across a broad range of disciplines including mine planners, geologist, metallurgists, financiers along with the traditional environmental and social disciplines.

A key success of the previous forum was the recording of discussions that occurred during the sessions which allowed the ESG-SR Committee to put together the recommendation, incorporating members’ views, for the Social Responsibility Framework. The original forum also used a range of pre-reading and prompt notes to assist the discussion and to expedite critical conversations. Each of these elements will remain for the digital forum under development.

The structure of the Social Responsibility Forum will include:

  • Overview of social responsibility in the resources industry in 2021 – why does it matter?
  • Implementing social responsibility – what does it mean for the different levels in the resources industry?
  • Embedding social responsibility in practice – what does it look like in industry?

The AusIMM Social Responsibility Framework is a globally-leading policy by an professional association. The AusIMM Board and ESG-SR Committee are committed, through member engagement processes, to continue to explore what this issue means to the industry and how to continue to develop and improve the awareness, understanding and competency of AusIMM members.

AusIMM is also progressing a Professional Certificate course in ESG and Social Responsibility. This course will examine ESG performance and social responsibility and equip participants with knowledge to apply ESG and Social Responsibility requirements in their workplace. More detail on the course can be found on the AusIMM website.

The ESG-SR Forum will be promoted across the AusIMM network but if you are interested in further information on the ESG-SR Committee it can be obtained from Bruce Harvey (Chair) or Harry Turner (AusIMM Government Relations Adviser). Contact us via policy@ausimm.com.

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